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The best USB-C cables you can buy

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

USB Type-C has become the universal charging standard over the past few years. Phone reviewers are now disappointed if a new smartphone comes with a micro-USB port, and even many affordable smartphones now sport USB-C. If you need a new charger, here are the best USB-C cables you can buy!

Best USB Type-C cables:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best USB-C cables regularly as new ones launch.


Things to know

The unfortunate truth is that USB-C is still a mess in USB Type-C cables from various OEMs and third-party manufacturers may look the same, but they’re vastly different. Not every cable is made equal, and some can be downright dangerous for your device. It’s gotten much better than what the situation was three or four years ago, but there are things you should look out for.

  • USB-IF – USB-IF (USB Implementers Forum) announced a Certified USB Charger Compliance and Logo Program back in to offer USB chargers for compliant USB-C devices. Looking for “certified by USB-IF” or the USB-IF logo is one way to check whether a third-party cable is a good choice. If you aren’t sure of a device, you can check whether it’s listed on the USB-IF Product Search page.
  • USB ///Thunderbolt 3 – Currently, we have cables that could be compatible with USB , USB , and USB (Gen 1 and Gen 2), with the version number defining function and speed. USB and USB 4 standards were also introduced within days of each other. USB offers a theoretical transfer speed of up to Mbps. USB and USB Gen 1 ups that to 5Gbps, and USB Gen 2 doubles the speed. Finally, Thunderbolt 3 is the fastest by far, with an impressive theoretical data transfer speed of 40Gbps. However, keep in mind that factors like cable length (shorter the better for faster speeds) also play a role.
  • Wattage – This gives you an idea of charging speed. USB Power Delivery augments the basic USB charging speeds for up to W of output power. The amount of available power is split into different power ratings, which operate at different voltages. The W+ and 15W+ modes are best for phones, while 27W and above are for laptops and other higher power devices.

See also: Here are the fastest charging cables you can buy

Other requirements

Checking compatibility is very important when buying a USB-C cable.

  • The cable may support faster data transfer and charging speeds, but the device you are using may not.
  • If you are looking for a cable capable of carrying video, you’ll need one that meets the USB Gen 2 or Thunderbolt 3 standards.
  • Cables that meet higher standards are also more expensive. If you are looking to charge a smartphone, a USB-C (USB ) cable may be more than enough. That said, backward compatibility isn’t an issue.
  • Cable length is an important factor as well. You may want a longer cable, but this may impact data transfer speeds.

AmazonBasics USB Type-C cables

Amazon has a lot of different types of USB-C cables under its AmazonBasics brand, and all of them are USB-IF certified, and you get a 1-year limited warranty as well. The most affordable is a USB-C to USB-C (USB ) cable, with cable lengths ranging from 6 inches to 9ft. This cable is priced starting at around $

See also: USB-C and clearing up the confusion

Next is a USB-C to USB-C (USB Gen 1) cable, available in 3ft and 6ft lengths. This comes with a starting price of around $ To connect your smartphone to a laptop, you can also get a USB-C to USB-A (USB Gen 2), which will set you back around $ You can also get a USB-C to micro-USB cable, ideal for connecting your phone to a power bank, many of which still come with micro-USB ports. 

Anker sits at the top as one of the leaders in the charging game. From power banks to cables, Anker does it all, and it does the job well.

See also: The best 10,mAh power banks you can buy

The Anker PowerLine III Plus is a perfect example of what we mean. It’s a USB-IF-certified USB-C to USB-C cable that comes in a convenient six-foot length. It’s also blisteringly fast — the PowerLine III Plus supports 60W Power Delivery charging. Even better, the cable is fiber-wrapped from one end to the other and can endure 35, bends and tugs.

Pick up a Powerline III Plus

Another high-speed alternative from Anker is the Intel-certified Thunderbolt 3 cable. It tops out at speeds of W and rapid 40Gbps data transfer. If there’s a drawback, it’s that the Thunderbolt 3 is short at just feet long. The Thunderbolt 3 cable is also backwards compatible with previous generations of USB-C chargers.

Pick up an Anker Thunderbolt 3


Nekteck USB-C cables

For breakneck data transfer speeds, these two USB-C to USB-C Nekteck cables are some of the best USB Type-C cables you can buy. The first is a USB PD and USB Gen 2 cable that is also Thunderbolt 3 compatible and can carry video and offer data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Get the USB Gen 2 cable

The other option is a Thunderbolt 3 cable that meets Intel’s qualification standards. It supports data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps (up to 20Gbps for the longer cable lengths) and 4K video output. The shortest ft cable offers the fastest speeds, but 3ft and 6ft cables are available.

Get the Nekteck Thunderbolt 3 cable

See also: The best USB-C adapters you can get


Belkin USB Type-C cables

Like the other cable manufacturers on this list, Belkin has a few options to choose between, depending on your needs. First is a USB-C to USB-A (USB ) that is 3ft long. You can also get a ft USB-C to USB-C (USB ) cable as well. Belkin also sells a USB Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 compatible cable with up to 60W power delivery for ultra-fast data transfer speeds.

See also: The best USB-C portable battery chargers

Apple has a design language all its own, and it excels at making things complicated for everyone else. Charging is part of the rule rather than the exception due to Apple’s insistence on using the Lightning connector. Many of the cables you’ll find in this section are built to handle that Lightning connection, and many of them come from Apple itself as a result.

See also: The best Apple MacBook accessories

Luckily for MacBook and latest-generation iPad users, Apple has embraced the USB-C revolution with a long USB-C to USB-C connector. It comes in white — it’s an Apple product, after all — and it stretches out to a full length of two meters, which should be plenty of length.

Pick up an Apple USB-C to USB-C

If you’re looking for a Lightning-based replacement instead, Apple offers a USB-C cable in both one-meter and two-meter configurations. It’s the fastest option for most iOS purposes as the USB-C to Lightning cable is compatible with 29W, 61W, and 87W adapters. Unfortunately, Apple’s first-party cables never seem to offer much in the way of reinforcement or durability.

Pick up an Apple USB-C to Lightning

Last but certainly not least is Apple’s USB-C to USB-C Thunderbolt cable. It’s Cupertino’s quickest cable, supporting 40Gbps transfer speeds and charging at up to W. Sadly there’s no Thunderbolt to Lightning option, though, because that would be too shocking for Apple. The Thunderbolt 3 cable measures a maximum of meters long.

Pick up an Apple Thunderbolt 3

The BestUSB, USB-C

Sours: https://www.androidauthority.com/best-usb-type-c-cables/

Comsol USB DataLink Transfer Cable m

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Rocketfish - 6' Universal Data Transfer Cable - Multi

Discontinued

Model: RF-UP

Quickly transfer files to and from your computer with this Rocketfish™ RF-UP 6' data transfer cable that works with PC and Mac with no additional software to install.

Product Features

Including Windows , XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and Mac OS and later for wide-ranging use.

Launches directly from the cable without additional software to install.

Enables quick data transmission.

General
Product Name6' Universal Data Transfer Cable
BrandRocketfish™
Model NumberRF-UP
ColorMulti
Color CategoryMulti
Warranty
Manufacturer's Warranty - PartsLifetime
Manufacturer's Warranty - LaborLifetime
Dimensions
Weight pounds
Other
Product Weight pounds
UPC
Sours: https://www.rocketfishproducts.com/pdp/RF-UP/
What Ethernet Cable to Use? Cat5? Cat6? Cat7?
  • We’ve updated this guide to reflect some recent advances in the USB-C standard, but our picks are unchanged.

October 4,

If you have a device with a USB-C port—such as a MacBook or other compatible laptop, an iPad Pro, a Nintendo Switch, or an Android phone—you need a cable to charge it and to transfer data to and from other devices. Unfortunately, when it comes to USB-C, even cables that look identical can behave very differently—for instance, a cable that charges your phone at top speed might be sluggish at transferring music files, or vice versa. We’ve tested 78 cables and 16 adapters to help you find the right one for your needs without overspending.

A quick primer on USB specifications for those living in blissful oblivion: While ordinary USB-A ports are limited to just 12 watts of charging power, USB-C ports can provide 18 watts of fast-charging power to phones and, more rarely, up to watts to laptops (depending on the cable and device you plug into them). Apple’s Lightning ports can use regular watt charging with a USB-A cable and faster charging via USB-C. Micro-USB and Mini-USB can provide only regular charging regardless of a USB-A or USB-C connection. Each has different capabilities and limitations in charging power and speed (measured in watts, W) and data-transfer speed between devices (measured in megabits per second, Mbps, or gigabits per second, Gbps).

Best for charging USB-C phones, tablets, and laptops

Cable Matters USB-C to USB-C Charging Cable

The best cable for charging phones, tablets, and laptops, the Cable Matters USB-C to USB-C cable.

Why you might prefer it: The Cable Matters USB-C to USB-C Charging Cable is rated for W charging, so it can recharge even large laptops such as the inch MacBook Pro, which comes with a 96 W charger, at full speed. At feet, it’s as long as any cable we tested in this category (it also comes in a foot length). It’s USB-IF certified—meaning that it meets a set of criteria designed by the USB Implementers Forum, a nonprofit corporation run by Apple, Intel, Microsoft, and other tech giants—and it has a one-year warranty backed by a company we trust. And although it performs just as well as Apple’s foot and foot MacBook Pro charging cables (which aren’t USB-IF certified), it costs half as much.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This cable supports only USB data-transfer speeds, so it’s not the best option for moving big files around. It’s also thicker and bulkier than many of our other picks, but that’s a fine trade-off for maximum charging power.

  • USB data-transfer rates (up to Mbps)
  • watt charging
  • feet long (also available in feet)

Cable Matters Slim Series Long USB-C to USB-C Charging Cable

A long USB-C to USB-C cable, the Cable Matters Slim Series.

Why you might prefer it: The Cable Matters Slim Series Long USB-C to USB-C Charging Cable is a luxurious 10 feet in length (though it also comes in 3-foot and 6-foot versions), allowing you to charge your phone, tablet, or laptop from a faraway outlet. In our testing, it was able to deliver up to 60 W of power to charge USB-C devices—even a inch MacBook Pro running multiple programs—at top speed. Few laptops need more than 60 watts. The body of the cable is slim and flexible enough that you can easily wind it up and stow it in a bag or drawer, and its rubber exterior has a pleasantly grippy texture. Like our main pick in this category, it costs about half as much as Apple’s MacBook Pro charging cable and less than most other options, plus it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Like our main pick in this category, this cable has maddeningly slow USB data-transfer rates, and it’s not quite as powerful as that model (supporting up to 60 W instead of W). It’s not USB-IF certified, and its housings are slightly worse than those of a lot of our other picks—instead of one seamless piece of plastic, the housings have a plastic grip and a small rubber collar, a design that in our experience breaks more easily—but given the lifetime warranty, this cable is still a safe bet.

  • USB data-transfer rates (up to Mbps)
  • watt charging
  • 10 feet long (also available in 3 and 6 feet)

Nekteck USB-C to USB-C Cable with 60W USB GaN Charger

The best USB-C to USB-C with charger, the Nekteck USB-C to USB-C Cable.

Why you might prefer it: The Nekteck USB-C to USB-C Cable with 60W USB GaN Charger is typically priced about the same as Apple’s comparable MacBook charging cable—and as a bonus, it’s packaged with our favorite wall charger. Either item would be a good value on its own, but the bundle is a steal. The foot cable is long enough to reach most outlets from a desk or couch. Its housings are as sturdy as any we tested, and the main body of the cable is slim and flexible. It’s also USB-IF certified and backed by a one-year warranty.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Like the rest of our picks in this category, this cable has sluggish USB data-transfer rates. It can’t provide as much power as the W Cable Matters version, but it had no trouble powering devices at up to 60 W in our testing.

  • USB data-transfer rates (up to Mbps)
  • watt charging
  • feet long

Best for monitors and fast data transfer (USB-C and Thunderbolt 3)

Nekteck USB-C to USB-C Gen 2 Cable

The best cable for monitors and data transfer, the Nekteck USB-C to USB-C Gen 2 Cable.

Our pick

Nekteck USB-C to USB-C Gen 2 Cable

Nekteck USB-C to USB-C Gen 2 Cable

Great at a desk

If you need one cable that does everything, this is the cable to get. It supports fast data-transfer speeds (up to 10 Gbps), can output video to a monitor, and can charge any USB-C laptop, even the inch MacBook Pro, at full speed. It’s overkill (and short) for charging a phone, though.

Why you might prefer it: The Nekteck USB-C to USB-C Gen 2 Cable can do it all. Like all the cables we considered for this category, it meets USB-C specifications (cables that violate those specs can potentially damage devices). As long as you’re using the right charger, it can charge any USB-C device, even a inch MacBook Pro, at up to W speeds. It also moves data as fast as a non-Thunderbolt USB-C port currently allows, namely USB Gen 2 speeds of up to 10 Gbps. That’s fast enough to transfer a full-length HD movie file in about three seconds. The cable’s housings are sturdily built, with ample room for gripping. Plus, it costs only about $10 at this writing.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This cable isn’t as practical for people who need to charge only a phone or other device, since it’s only feet long and thicker than most of our other picks. But that’s true of any USB Gen 2 cable; if the wires inside were any longer or slimmer, you’d lose data-transfer speeds. Plus, since you’re likely to use this type of cable to connect a laptop to a storage drive, a dock, or a monitor—and not expecting it to reach from your nightstand to your bed, for example—it doesn’t have to be especially long, slim, or flexible. This cable has only a one-year warranty, in contrast to the lifetime warranty on the similar cable we recommend from Anker below.

  • USB Gen 2 data-transfer rates (up to 10 Gbps)
  • watt charging
  • feet long

Anker PowerLine II USB-C to USB-C Gen 2 Cable

The best cable with a lifetime warranty, the Anker PowerLine II USB-C to USB-C Gen 2 Cable.

Why you might prefer it:Anker’s PowerLine II USB-C to USB-C Gen 2 Cable is another great option if you want to transfer data quickly (10 Gbps) as well as charge phones, tablets, laptops, and other USB-C devices that require up to W of power. Like Nekteck’s version, this Anker cable is sturdy and well built, and it’s USB-IF certified. Plus, it comes with a handy Velcro fastener to keep your cable neatly coiled, and it has a lifetime warranty backed by a company we trust. We also slightly prefer the sleeker-looking housings on this cable to those of the Nekteck.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Like any fully functioning USB Gen 2 cable, this Anker cable is short (3 feet) and too thick and rigid to easily pack into a drawer or bag—though the included cable tie helps. It’s also twice the price of our main pick in this category, but it performed just as well in our testing, and the lifetime warranty and more streamlined housing design slightly outweigh the extra cost.

  • USB Gen 2 data-transfer rates (up to 10 Gbps)
  • watt charging
  • 3 feet long

Anker USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Cable

The most powerful Thunderbolt 3 cable, the Anker USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Cable.

Why you might prefer it: This cable could be considered the “professional” pick, likely to be overkill in most homes. Rated for W charging, the Anker USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Cable can charge a inch MacBook Pro or any high-powered laptop. It’s Thunderbolt 3 capable, so although it looks like any other USB-C–to–USB-C cable (aside from the Thunderbolt logo on each end), it can transfer data up to four times faster (40 Gbps) between supported devices. When you use it with non-Thunderbolt USB-C devices, it functions as a USB-C cable that supports W charging and USB Gen 2 data-transfer speeds. The housings attaching the plugs to the main body of the cable aren’t as robust as those of some other Anker cables, but they seem sturdy and roomy enough to let you get a firm grasp. Notably, this cable’s month warranty is the best coverage length we’ve seen in this category, and that should give you plenty of time to test the cable out with your devices and decide whether it works properly for you.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Anker USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Cable is shorter than we’d like, but there’s a practical reason. Sources including AppleInsider have reported that Thunderbolt 3 cables longer than feet do not support data transfer at full speed, unless you’re willing to pay a premium for an active cable (such as Nekteck’s Thunderbolt 3 cable). And since most people are likely to use this cable at their desktop—for example, to connect a laptop to a portable SSD right next to it— feet seems plenty long. This Anker cable is also rather thick, but that’s true of all Thunderbolt 3 cables, since bulkier wiring is required for them to perform properly.

  • Thunderbolt 3 data-transfer rates (up to 40 Gbps)
  • watt charging
  • feet long

Nekteck Active Thunderbolt 3 Cable

The best long thunderbolt 3 cable, the Nekteck Active.

Why you might prefer it: This is another cable that’s overkill for the kinds of devices most people have in their homes but ideal for professionals who can take advantage of super-fast data transfers and need something longer than the standard 3 feet. Like our main pick in this category, the foot Nekteck Active Thunderbolt 3 Cable offers plenty of power for charging USB-C devices up to watts, and in our testing it achieved full Thunderbolt 3 data-transfer rates (up to 40 Gbps). Its housings are nearly identical to those of the Cable Matters USB-C to USB-C Charging Cable, as well. Nekteck’s cable stands apart, though, because it’s one of the few active Thunderbolt 3 cables we’ve found being sold by a reputable brand. “Active” means that even though this Nekteck cable is much longer than Anker’s Thunderbolt 3 cable ( feet versus just feet), it doesn’t sacrifice any of the data-transfer capabilities, allowing you to move files between any two compatible devices at top speed. Most people probably don’t need a Thunderbolt 3 cable this long, but it’s always nice to have some extra slack (especially if your laptop isn’t located right next to the device you’re connecting it to, such as a hard drive or monitor). Nekteck’s warranty isn’t quite as long as Anker’s (one year versus 18 months), but it should give you enough time to tell whether you have a dud.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This is one of the most expensive cables we recommend, selling for more than $50 at this writing. Also, it’s thicker than some other cables and doesn’t bend as well when draped around corners on a nightstand or desk. But if you need a longer option, this Nekteck model is the best value we’ve seen for an active Thunderbolt 3 cable.

  • Thunderbolt 3 data-transfer rates (up to 40 Gbps)
  • watt charging
  • feet long

Best for iPhone, iPad, and other Lightning devices

Anker PowerLine II USB-C to Lightning Cable

The best cables for fast-charging Apple devices, Anker Powerline II cables.

Why you might prefer it: Compared with the USB-A chargers and cables that accompany most Apple devices, USB-C–to–Lightning cables allow you to charge iPhones (8 or 8 Plus or later) and most iPad Pros (excluding the newest models, which charge via USB-C) at much faster speeds when you pair them with a high-speed USB-C charger.

Of prime importance, the Anker cables’ MFi-certified status means they meet Apple’s standards to ensure optimal performance with the company’s devices—from iPhones to Magic Trackpads—in terms of charging and data-transfer capabilities.

Although you can find unlicensed third-party options, we chose not to consider them; since such cables might not be fully compatible with Apple devices, you risk the cable fitting incorrectly or overheating and then damaging the cable, your device, or both.

Anker backs both of its cables with a lifetime warranty and its excellent customer support. The cables have a thick, rubber sheath encasing their innards, yet both of them—but especially the 3-foot version—remain flexible and compact enough to stow easily in a pocket or pouch. Plus, each one comes with a convenient hook-and-loop cable tie to keep your cable coiled and to prevent tangling.

Unlike on Apple’s cables, the plastic housings that join the metal connectors to the Anker PowerLine II cables seem sturdy and robust, built to withstand bending or fraying even with frequent use. Compared with most of the other cables we tested, these cables make a satisfying click when plugged into a USB-C port and have minimal wiggling, ensuring a solid connection.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The official Apple cable comes in and foot versions, so Anker’s 3- and 6-foot cables are a bit shorter. But they’re still plenty long in most scenarios. And although Apple’s cables are thinner and less bulky than the Anker PowerLine II cables, so they’re more portable, the Apple cables are notoriously flimsy—and they don’t have anything like Anker’s handy hook-and-loop cable ties.

  • USB data-transfer rates (up to Mbps)
  • 18 W USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) fast charging
  • 3 feet and 6 feet long

Nomad USB-C to Lightning Cable (3 meters)

A rugged USB-C to Lightening cable, the Nomad USB-C to Lightning Cable.

Why you might prefer it: The 3-meter Nomad USB-C to Lightning Cable is just as fast as any other cable we tested, plus it’s encased in the most rugged sheath of any we’ve seen. The housing is made of a thick, double-braided Kevlar that seems less likely to wear or snag than the more common nylon material. The cable’s plastic housings are sturdy, with little ridges along the collar for added flexibility. At nearly 10 feet, it’s also the longest cable we tested, allowing you to more easily reach faraway outlets. Like the Anker PowerLine II cables, the Nomad is MFi-certified to work with Apple devices. And although Nomad’s five-year warranty doesn’t match Anker’s lifetime warranty, the coverage period is longer than that of most cables we tested. Lastly, the rubber cable tie that comes with the Nomad is more robust than any we’ve seen, with thick ridges fastening it closed, keeping your cable securely coiled.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Because this cable is longer and more robust than other cables we tested, it’s noticeably bulky if you try to stow it in a pocket or purse. But if you plan to keep it in one place for the most part, or if you have room to spare in your bag, the Nomad’s added bulk might not be too bothersome.

  • USB data-transfer rates (up to Mbps)
  • 18 W USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) fast charging
  • 10 feet long (also available in 5 feet)

Best for headphones and other accessories (USB-A and Micro-USB)

Belkin Boost Charge USB-C to USB-A Cable

The best cable for charging from a USB-A port, the Belkin Boost Charge USB-C to USB-A Cable.

Why you might prefer it: The Belkin Boost Charge USB-C to USB-A Cable is your best bet for charging a phone, tablet, or other small USB-C device on a USB-A port. Lots of older wall chargers, car chargers, and laptops have only USB-A ports, so having at least one cable like this around can be useful. The Boost Charge cable isn’t as capable as most of our other picks, but we confirmed in our testing that it can charge devices at up to 15 W of power, which is the limit for this type of cable. The plastic housings felt pleasantly rounded and comfortable to grasp while we were plugging and unplugging, and they seemed firmly attached to the body. The cable itself is also thin and flexible, making it easy to coil up and stow in a bag or pocket. It’s feet long, which is the perfect length to reach from an outlet to a bedside table or desk, though it also comes in a foot version if you prefer a shorter cable. In addition, it’s USB-IF certified, backed by a two-year warranty, and priced at only $10 or so at this writing.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Boost Charge cable is limited to slow USB data-transfer rates (up to Mbps). But since most people will be using it only to charge small devices, that isn’t a huge deal.

  • USB data-transfer rates (up to Mbps)
  • watt charging
  • feet long (also available in feet)

Anker PowerLine II USB-C to USB-A Gen 2 Cable

Our favorite short cable for data transfer, the Anker PowerLine II USB-C to USB-A Gen 2 Cable.

Why you might prefer it: The Anker PowerLine II USB-C to USB-A Gen 2 Cable is something of a rarity, a USB-C–to–USB-A cable with fast data-transfer capabilities up to 10 Gbps. If you need a cable like that—to charge a USB-C phone on a laptop’s USB-A port and also transfer files between them, for example—this is the one to get. In our testing, it achieved full data-transfer speeds, and like our main pick in this category, it can charge small devices with up to 15 W of power. The body of the cable is pleasantly thin and flexible, and the housings on either end are made of a solid piece of plastic, a design that we’ve found makes housings last longer, without breaking, compared with designs using a rubber collar. This cable is USB-IF certified, and unlike some of our other favorite Anker cables, it’s backed by an impressive lifetime warranty.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The biggest drawback of this cable is that it’s short—just 3 feet long—but that’s the longest a USB Gen 2 cable can be without adding lots of extra bulk. And although it’s fairly inexpensive, it still costs a little more than the $10 Belkin.

  • USB Gen 2 data-transfer rates (up to 10 Gbps)
  • watt charging
  • 3 feet long

Amazon Basics USB Type-C to USB Gen 1 Adapter

Our favorite cable for connecting USB-A cables to USB-C ports, the Amazon Basics USB Type-C adapter.

Why you might prefer it: The Amazon Basics USB Type-C to USB Gen 1 Adapter is great if you’ve bought a laptop devoid of USB-A ports, such as a MacBook Pro, and don’t feel like immediately replacing every older cable and flash drive you own. The advantage of a cable over a nub is that it moves the connected USB-A cable or flash drive away from the computer a bit—about 6 inches in this case. That extra length and flexibility can make it easier to use certain accessories, especially those with wide plugs. This adapter is USB-IF certified, it performed well in our testing, and it supports USB Gen 1 (another way of saying USB ) data-transfer rates up to 5 Gbps. It can also carry up to 15 W of charging power, allowing you to charge small devices at top speed. Available for $10 at this writing, it’s also one of the least expensive models we tested.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Amazon Basics’s adapter has the shortest warranty (one year) of any we tested. But we’ve had generally good experiences with the company’s customer service, and a year should give you enough time to decide if this adapter suits your needs.

  • USB data-transfer rates (up to 5 Gbps)
  • watt charging
  • inches long

Amazon Basics USB Type-C to Micro-B Cable

The best Micro-USB charging cable, the Amazon Basics USB Type-C to Micro-B Cable.

Why you might prefer it: The Amazon Basics USB Type-C to Micro-B Cable is a great option for charging small Micro-USB–powered devices (such as a pair of wireless headphones) on a laptop, wall charger, or power bank’s USB-C port. It’s 3 feet long (it comes in 6-inch and 6-foot versions, too, but we didn’t test those) and it has a nicely built, slim design. In our testing, it reached full charging (up to 15 watts) and USB data-transfer speeds. It’s also USB-IF certified and backed by Amazon’s one-year warranty. Plus, it’s about half the price of comparable cables.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Only a handful of Micro-USB–to–USB-C cables from reputable vendors are available, for good reason—such cables don’t charge any faster than their Micro-USB–to–USB-A brethren, yet they generally cost more since they’re so niche. This Amazon Basics cable’s housings are also more angular and clunky than those on most of our favorite cables, but we can live with that drawback since other contenders in this category were more expensive.

  • USB data-transfer rates (up to Mbps)
  • watt charging
  • 3 feet long (also available in 6 inches and 6 feet)

Anker PowerLine II 3-in-1 Cable

The best 3-in-1 cable, the Anker PowerLine II 3-in-1 Cable.

Why you might prefer it: A three-in-one cable is, essentially, a USB-A–to–Micro-USB cable with Lightning and USB-C adapters attached by short tethers. Although we don’t recommend using such a cable on a daily basis because it’s limited to slow charging and data speeds and the adapters can be a pain, we do think one can be handy for travel or as a backup you can throw in your desk drawer.

Of those we tried, the Anker PowerLine II 3-in-1 Cable was the clear winner. It’s MFi-certified, it got top marks in our power-draw and data-transfer tests (like every three-in-one cable we tested, it supports only USB data speeds), and it seems well made. It’s a slim cable that’s easy to coil up and stow in a bag, and we found its adapters the easiest to plug and unplug—the other ones we tried were fussy and difficult to wrangle.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: In theory, having a three-in-one cable is a convenient, compact alternative to carrying around three individual cables. But in practice, we found all of them cumbersome to use—an inelegant method of addressing different standards and legacy connectors. But if you regularly use all three types (Micro-USB, USB-C, and Lightning) and hate carrying around three different cables, this is a decent option.

We wish its rubber adapter tethers were easier to maneuver and built more sturdily—we fear they might break after repeated use—but none of the models we tested impressed us in that regard. This cable’s slim, compact design and good overall performance make it the best of the worst.

  • USB data-transfer rates (up to Mbps)
  • up to 15 W charging
  • 3 feet long
  • black and white color options

The competition

USB-C cables for charging phones, tablets, and laptops

The Anker PowerLine II USB-C to USB-C Cable is a former pick. It’s 6 feet long, USB-IF certified, and backed a lifetime warranty, and it offers 60 W charging. But it’s typically more expensive than our current picks in this category.

In our power-draw and data-transfer tests, the Belkin Mixit DuraTek USB-C Cable performed about the same as our Cable Matters pick. It also has a great (five-year) warranty. But we didn’t care for the ridges between the smooth and matte sections of the cable housings—they felt inelegant—and its price is usually more than double that of every other cable we tested in this category.

Apple’s USB-C Charge Cable (2 m) was our former pick in this category, but it’s not USB-IF certified. Plus, our Cable Matters pick is about half the price and just as good.

USB-C cables for transferring data and displaying video

Thunderbolt 3 cables

Although the Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) Cable performed no worse than our Anker pick in our testing, it has a shorter warranty (one year) and costs more. Plus, according to sources such as AppleInsider, any Thunderbolt 3 cable longer than about feet (like this one, which is feet) can’t provide top data-transfer speeds.

USB-C–to–Lightning cables

The Anker PowerLine+ II Lightning Cable (3 feet) and Anker PowerLine+ II Lightning Cable (6 feet) are pretty much identical to our PowerLine II picks, except they have double-braided nylon sheaths instead of rubber. The different sheath didn’t seem to add much to performance, and these models cost a few dollars more, which is why we didn’t name them as picks. But you should get one of these if you prefer a fabric sheath and don’t want the added length or bulk of our Nomad pick.

Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-usb-c-cables/

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